It was a PBA debut six years in the making.
The long wait was over as Paul Zamar finally played his first game in the league as a member of the Blackwater Elite against Ginebra in the 2018 Honda PBA Commissioner's Cup on Friday at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
The former University of the East standout made an outright impact for Blackwater, which gave him the golden ticket to the first play-for-pay league in Asia after a breakout performance for Mono Vampire in the ASEAN Basketball League.
The son of San Miguel Beer assistant coach Boycie Zamar finished with 15 points, including 12 in the fourth period. The Elite, though, bowed to the Kings, 105-91.
But the blowout loss did not dampen the spirits of someone whose ultimate dream came true after more than half a decade of pursuit.
"I enjoyed my first game, but it would have been nice if we won," said the amiable Zamar in Filipino. "We're still adjusting to the system of coach Bong Ramos. I'm still adjusting because I'm new here also."
The highlight of his debut was one moment he shared with Ginebra star Mark Caguioa, who welcomed him when he checked in late in the fourth quarter of the match that also saw Greg Slaughter make a comeback after being sidelined by a severe ankle injury.
"He told me, 'Welcome to the PBA.' It was a surreal feeling," Zamar said in Filipino.
But did he impress his coaches? Asked what his assessment of his new cager was, Ramos had only good words.
"He is a positive addition," said Ramos. "Actually I was still reading him that's why I made him play the point. It was the right time to see if Paul could play the point because my other guards were not stepping up."
He added, "He was definitely a more mature player than he was when he was still playing in the D-League. I'm happy for him."